Giving the IIW another shot

Action card discussions -- and objections -- at the Internet Identity Workshop

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I headed off to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., last week, for the latest instance of the Internet Identity Workshop. Some of you may recall that, after last fall's gathering (the IIW meets twice a year) I was less than enthusiastic. Still, people whose opinion I respect suggested I give it another chance. So I did.

I headed off to the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., last week, for the latest instance of the Internet Identity Workshop. Some of you may recall that, after last fall's gathering (the IIW meets twice a year) I was less than enthusiastic. My take on it at the time was: "I've always come away with a feeling that we're on the right path and the breakthrough event is just around the corner. This time, though, I'm despairing that we may never get there." Still, people whose opinion I respect suggested I give it another chance. So I did.

The first session I attended (on Day Two; I skipped Day One's introductory sessions) was an exploration of action cards,  an adaptation of Infocards for multiple uses besides simple authentication. But the session ran into the same problem I'd seen in the fall: while presenter Drummond Reed -- executive director of the Information Card Foundation (ICF) -- was filling in the background about information cards, a number of folk in the audience took the opportunity to raise objections to the specification. We hadn't even gotten to begin discussing the actual topic. Still, I hung on and -- in the end -- the session was marginally rewarding. I did learn more about action cards (more on that in a moment) but I'm still left with the feeling that the IIW may no longer be the best place to present new ideas. Maybe Day Three would change that (I'll get to that in the next issue).

Action cards were presented in two use cases. The first is somewhat analogous to FUN Communications loyalty cards ("Putting the Fun in virtual loyalty cards," coupled with a greasemonkey-like scripting tool (from Kynetx) that would allow, for example, members of the Automobile Association of America (AAA) to see an icon in search results indicating organizations that give discounts to AAA members. That was neat.

Beyond that, Kynetx honcho Phil Windley talked about using these action cards to store temporarily relevant information. The example given was a card issued by a travel site (such as Expedia or Orbitz) containing details of a booked trip. Visits to other Web sites (travel guides, event calendars, car rental agencies and so on) would automatically present relevant information to help customize the content you see as it relates to your upcoming trip. That sort of thing could be very useful.

That's the sort of innovation I come to IIW to see. But it does seem like there's way too much noise to wade through to get to the interesting signal.

Upcoming events from the IdM Journal Event calendar:

Ensync presents a Webinar on May 28 at 9 a.m. called "The Business Impact of Identity and Access Management with Forefront Identity Manager 2010" (that's the new name for Microsoft’s Identity Lifecycle Manager which was formerly called Microsoft Identity Integration Server and began life in Redmond as Microsoft Metadirectory Services). Head here for information and registration .

On June 2 at 11 a.m. EDT, Courion is presenting "Access Assurance in the Cloud" featuring Chris Sullivan, Courion's vice president of customer solutions, and an engaging speaker (and Red Sox fan). Information and registration can be found here for those who need to get up to speed on cloud computing.

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